Nutrition and Hydration Week 2023 logo.pngNutrition expert Nicola Storey from North Cumbria Integrated NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) is highlighting how poor nutrition and hydration can lead to a deterioration in health and increased hospital admissions.

This week is Nutrition and Hydration Week, and medical evidence shows that good nutrition and hydration can assist in preventing conditions such as pressure ulcers, heart disease, diabetes, and low blood pressure. It is also recognised that it helps to keep you alert and feel generally healthier.

Nicola, who is Head of Nutrition & Dietetics at NCIC, said:  “It’s really important people maintain a good diet and stay hydrated, especially those who are being cared for in a hospital or care home.

“The consequences of poor nutrition can include an increased risk of infection, delayed wound healing and decreased muscle strength.

“There are plenty of things people can do to maintain a good level of nutrition and hydration, for example, drinking water regularly throughout the day, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and cutting down on the amount of sugar and salt they eat.”

NCIC are using the week to remind staff and patients of the importance of nutrition and hydration, Georgia Wright, Deputy Chief Nurse, said: “I’ve been on the wards this week and staff have been talking within teams and to their patients about nutrition and hydration. Staff are using the traffic light system on the wards making sure patients drink enough water and go from red to amber to green. It’s good practice and seems to be working well.”

If you’re looking at ways of improving your diet, here are a few things that could help:

  • Base your meals on starchy food – starchy food should make up around one third of the food you eat. These include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread
  • Eat plenty of fruit and veg – It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day
  • Eat more fish – fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals
  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar – we all need fat in our diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount of fat that we’re eating
  • Eat less salt – eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, which can lead to people developing heart disease or having a stroke
  • Stay active – staying active is an important part of maintaining overall good health
  • Be aware of dehydration – we need to drink about 1.6 - 2 litres of fluid every day.

Hydration tips

  • Try and drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. 
  • Start the day with a glass of water. 
  • Infuse your water for flavour. Add your favourite fruits and/or herbs, like lemon and mint, to make water a little more interesting. 

Keep track of your drinking through an app like My Water Balance.